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Suffocation, not stampede, cause of deaths: Officials

Suffocation, not stampede, cause of deaths: Officials
Highlights

Facing flak for the stampede at Gandhi maidan that left 33 dead and 29 injured, Patna district administration on Saturday denied lapses and said the tragedy \"seems to be the result of suffocation\" due to the huge gathering of people for Dussera celebrations.

Patna: Facing flak for the stampede at Gandhi maidan that left 33 dead and 29 injured, Patna district administration on Saturday denied lapses and said the tragedy "seems to be the result of suffocation" due to the huge gathering of people for Dussera celebrations.

"People appear to have died due to suffocation," District Magistrate Manish Kumar Verma told reporters at Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH).
A scene of stampede at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Friday
Senior Superintendent of Police Manu Maharaj echoing him attributed the tragedy to 'asphyxiation'.

"CCTV footage shows movement of a huge mass of people and there is no clear picture of stampede visible in the footage ... The incident (the deaths) seems to have happened due to suffocation," he said. "Some people are seen falling and others picking them up ... Light was dim as the high mast light was not functioning near Ramgulam chowk. CCTV footage due to poor light is not conclusive," the SSP told a press conference at the PMCH principal's chamber.

He denied lathicharge by police, which eyewitnesses alleged triggered the stampede and at the same time did not rule out the role of rumours as part of a 'conspiracy' behind the tragedy.

Some people are being questioned in this respect and the police was in the process of registering an FIR in the incident. "We are also checking how far the falling of an electric wire or a ditch in which the feet of some people were trapped caused panic among crowd are true," Maharaj said.

President offers condolences
New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee has conveyed condolences over loss of lives due to stampede during the Dussera festival celebrations at Gandhi Maidan in Patna.

In his message to Bihar Governor DY Patil, the President said, "I am saddened to learn about the accident in which a number of persons have lost their lives and some were injured during the stampede in Dussera celebrations."

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